Fortec is still aiming to make a return to the European Formula 3 championship this year, despite one of the drivers it had been working with switching to Carlin.

Last year, the team’s European Open manager said the new regulations gave Fortec the opportunity to be competitive after a two year absence from the series.

The team is working towards a 2018 return, and had been close to a deal with two drivers, but one switched to Carlin before a seat could be confirmed.

Fortec boss Richard Dutton told Autosport the team still has hopes to return to the grid this year.

“We were very close with two drivers but, because Carlin were told they’d be allowed to run six cars this year, then one of them went there,” he said.

“We’re still looking at it, and we have one driver we’re very keen to do something with, but we’d want to do it with more than one car – if we can put two together, then we’ll do it.”

He added that, if the team can’t make it to the grid this season, it is targeting the new International F3 category in 2019.

Fortec last raced in the series in 2015. It finished eighth in the teams’ championship, but couldn’t attract drivers for the following year.